Why I hate Jewish happy hours

I work for a Jewish nonprofit that is perhaps best known in some circles for our happy hours that “Gather the Jews” of DC together at trendy bars throughout the city every month.

These happy hours have been gracing our Jewish community since the good ole days of 2010. Over the past nine years, these monthly gatherings have helped thousands of young DC-area Jews with diverse interests, backgrounds, levels of religiosity, professions, and relationship statuses make their bubbies proud.

And yet, if I earned a shekel for every time someone in the community has said “I hate those Jewish happy hours”, I’d be floating on a blow-up unicorn in my private infinity pool full of hummus right about now. #lifegoals

But, I digress.

The fact of the matter is that there seems to be a large percentage of the young Jewish DC community that feels happy hours, well, kind of suck. As the person who does the marketing for these happy hours, and as a regular attendee myself, I decided it might be a really good idea to compile a list of reasons why.

1. You have to make painfully awkward small talk with strangers.

Yes. I feel this one. I mean, how many times are people going to ask “What do you do?” Seriously? Even though I spend 60% of my waking hours at my job, it’s such a random question! Plus, small talk is boring and leads to nowhere.

And yes, maybe it was small talk at GatherDC happy hours that led me to meet the woman who became my boss, the people who became some of my closest friends in DC, and the man who became my husband. But really – enough with the small talk.

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2. You have to pay $5 to get into the happy hour and don’t even get a free drink!

Look, it’s not like I can’t afford the $5, it’s the principle of it! Why should I have to put $5 of my hard-earned money toward an entry fee to these happy hours? It would be one thing if that money was supporting something important, like a local Jewish nonprofit organization that is a pretty big part of my life in DC. But I have no idea where that money is going.

Ugh, I’ll just head home. Hold on though, let me stop by Sweetgreen to get a $14 salad.

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3. You’re peer-pressured into wearing a name-tag.

It’s awful. I hate having to go through the effort of taking 12 seconds to write my name on a sticker. Also, sticking the sticker to my beautiful outfit totally ruins the look I was going for. Everyone at these fashion-forward happy hours really cares what I’m wearing.

I would much rather have people ask me 17 times to repeat my name because they have trouble remembering.

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4. You have to be happy for a full hour – or more!

What if I had a bad day at work and am feeling stressed out? What if my mom just called nagging me and I’m super annoyed? What if I just ate three slices of cheese pizza but I’m lactose intolerant so I’m feeling extremely bloated? The pressure to be forced into happiness for an extended period of time is almost too much for me to handle.

What’s that you say? GatherDC’s Rabbi Aaron Potek already made it clear that all emotions are welcome at Jewish happy hours? So, I can come as my real, authentic self even if that means I’m full of annoyance or exhaustion or sadness? Alright then, I’m going to show up to the next happy hour with a big pouty face on. Just you wait.

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5. There’s way better things I could be doing with my night.

I work hard during the day and when the clock strikes 6pm, the night is my oyster (#notkosher). Why spend it in a bar full of potential new friends? My Netflix app gets mad at me when I don’t binge watch “The Office” for the eighth time.

Yeah, meeting awesome young adults and finding connection to Jewish DC life is definitely not how I want to spend an hour of my night.

 

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In sum, it seems that these Jewish happy hours we love to hate are the same places that we can find our future community, roommates, soulmates, friends, and colleagues. They have the potential to connect us to one another, and help us find one of our places in the Jewish community. It’s these very happy hours that, while at times awkward, might just be the starting point to living your very best Jewish life. And hey, if they suck – you can always go home to spend the rest of the night with Dwight Schrute and your Sweetgreen salad.

P.S. Our next happy hour is May 22nd at Takoda. See you there?


P.P.S. We fully understand that happy hours just might not be your scene. Some people don’t like spending time in bars or feel uncomfortable in large groups of people. Our only goal at GatherDC is to help you find your fit in Jewish DC life – however that works best for you. If happy hours aren’t for you, there is zero pressure to attend. We have tons of other ways for you to connect to Jewish life! We can connect you to intimate cohort experiences, Jewish learning, volunteer opportunities, and a huge calendar with amazing events around the city. If you’re not sure where to begin, let’s grab coffee (our treat!) so we can help you find your people and place in this community. No happy hour attendance required. 

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

FREE Summer Yoga with GatherDC!

yoga

  • Stressed out?
  • Struggling to get out of bed?
  • Feels like Friday but its only Tuesday?

Yup. Yup. Yup.

We understand.

That’s why we’re inviting you to OM-it-out with us on Thursday evenings so you can head into your summer weekends with invigorated energy! Our in-house yoga teacher Allison Friedman (bio below) will be hosting 60-minute power yoga classes on Thursdays from May 30th – August 22nd. 

After class, you’re welcome to hang out and schmooze with your new “omies” over tea and healthy snacks.

Classes are free to attend and all levels are welcome. Please come in yoga clothes and BYOM (Bring Your Own Mat).*

 

sign up

Details

  • When: Thursdays from May 30th – August 22nd at 5:30pm
  • What: 60-minute Jew-ish power yoga at beginner to intermediate level
  • Where: Gather’s townhouse at 1817 M St NW
  • Who: Jewish and “Jew-curious” 20s/30s in the DC-area

Cost

  • Class is FREE to attend, but we suggest a $12 donation to GatherDC for each class.

RSVP

 

*If you do not own a mat, one will be provided for you. Just give us the heads up.

yoga

About Allison: In addition to working for Gather as Communications Director, Allison Friedman recently graduated from a 200-hour yoga teacher training with CorePower Yoga. Yoga and Jewish spirituality are two of her favorite things, and she can’t wait to share the healing practice of Jewish-infused yoga with you. She sees yoga as an invigorating physical and mental practice that can inspire internal serenity, strength, and compassion.

For questions, email allisonf@gatherdc.org

Haman: A True Crime Story

Haman: A True Crime Story is a brand new podcast created by GatherDC, and hosted by investigative journalists Allison Friedman and Rachel Nieves.

It tells the story — a true story — about the evil Haman of Shushan who was murdered more than 2,000 years ago.

*Exclusive interviews with stars of the #Purim story: Esther, Vashti, and Mordechai!

Haman: A True Crime Story will make you ask the question: Should I be eating hamantaschen with poppy seeds?

 

For more inside scoop, click here.

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First, this video is a joke. Shocking as it may be, those interviewed were actually our staff members and not the protagonists in the Purim story. Second, the views and opinions are solely those of the original authors and do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Mini Gatherings: New to DC/Early 20s


Want to meet other interesting Jews in a smaller, more personal setting? Looking to explore questions that matter to Jewish 20s and 30s? Afraid of commitment?

GatherDC is excited to open applications for the 17th round of Mini Gatherings. We are looking for Jews in their early 20s who are looking to connect with others over meaningful discussions!

apply now

WHAT IS MINI GATHERINGS?

Mini Gatherings is a 3-week-long mini-fellowship that brings together ~15 diverse Jews to meet one another and have some DMCs (deep meaningful conversations) over beers. By the end, you’ll have made new friends, had some great discussions, and laughed at least twice.

WHO IS IT FOR?

This Mini Gatherings cohort is for Jewish adults who are in their early 20s and new to DC, looking to explore Judaism and meet new friends in a small, personal setting.

WHEN IS IT? 

6:30 – 8 pm on Wednesday, January 23rd, January 30th, and February 6th and Shabbat dinner on Friday night, February 1st.

WHERE IS IT? 

Somewhere in Dupont Circle. TBD.

ANY QUESTIONS? 

Email Rachel Nieves at racheln@gatherdc.org

DEADLINE TO APPLY? 

Apply below by Wednesday, January 16th at midnight.

    

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Jewish DC Year in Review: 2018

year in review

 

Ah, 2018. Was it all that bad?

Okay yes, Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson broke our hearts. We had some awkward political tension.  We could go through the list of awful things, because – safe to say – they were plentiful. Instead, let’s recap 2018 on a high note.

After all, 2018 had some pretty beautiful moments.

Queer Eye’s fab five travelled around the U.S. changing lives – one fabulous makeover at a time. “Crazy Rich Asians” made us smile uncontrollably for days. The Caps won the Stanley Cup. Also, Ariana Grande came out with the best music video, possibly ever.

Locally, Jewish DC hosted over 1,000+ community events for 20s/30s, ushered in more than 9 new rabbis to the area, hosted Yom Kippur in a bar, welcomed a new Jewish deli to the scene, and so much more!

Here’s a recap of some of our very favorite moments across Jewish DC in 2018.

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JEWISH PEOPLE OF THE WEEK!

This year, we interviewed 50 of the most phenomenal Jewish people across the District. From a professional pastry chef to politicians to renowned restauranteurs, we were stoked to introduce you to some of DC’s most dope Jews.

In case you missed one, here’s a recap.

Carly was named Most Dope Jew of the Week. She, along with 50 others, were featured as Gather’s Jewish Person of the Week this year!

 

JANUARY

MLK Shabbat at Sixth & I: January 12

mlk shabbat

A favorite Sixth & I annual tradition, this moving service with Turner Memorial AME Church—which worshiped in Sixth & I’s building for five decades—commemorates the spirit and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

 

Metro Minyan Shabbat: January 26

metro minyan

Every month, Washington Hebrew Congregation’s 2239 hosts a casual, musical, come-as-you-are Shabbat service followed by dinner with other 20s and 30s from across the city.

 

FEBRUARY

Beyond the Tent: February 9-11

btt

This February, GatherDC took a group of 30+ young adults out of DC to start exploring their Jewish identities from a fresh perspective.

 

MARCH

Moishe House DMV Purim Party: March 3

Purim

All four DMV Moishe Houses (Bethesda, Capitol Hill, Columbia Heights, and Northern Virginia) gathered to celebrate Purim in spring 2018, welcoming over 200 community members with one giant bash!

 

Honeymoon Israel

hmi

HoneymoonIsrael DC celebrated 2018 with three trips to Israel, bringing diverse couples with at least one Jewish participant to experience Israel and build community back home in DC. We floated in the dead sea, partied in the Golan, and had hard conversations on the beach- welcome home to our 60 new HMI alumni couples!

 

APRIL

Moishe House Columbia Heights “Friends-Over” Thanksgiving: April 6

moishe house

Noah Brown led his first Moishe House Columbia Heights event, called “Friends-Over” (think Friendsgiving), which was a wonderful housewarming/potluck during the best Jewish holiday…Passover! 🙂

 

Pet Projects with Moishe House Northern Virginia: April 19

gdd moho

Moishe House Northern Virginia took part in Federation’s Sara & Samuel J. Lessans Good Deeds Day to make dog toys for cute canines from a local animal shelter.

 

MAY

Jewish People of the Year Party: May 10

jpoy

GatherDC celebrated the extraordinary people who had been featured as a Jewish Person of the Week from 2017-2018, and everyone who makes our Jewish community so friggin’ awesome at its Jewish People of the Year Party with games, photo-booth, a raffle, dancing, and more!

 

JUNE

March with GLOE at Capital Pride: June 9

gloe

The EDCJCC’s GLOE brought together individuals and Jewish groups to join their contingent of DC’s LGBTQ Jews and allies for this fun event!

 

JULY

Mr. NJB Pageant: July 15

nice jewish boys

On July 15, Jeremy Sherman took home the crown at the Nice Jewish Boys DC’s annual Mr. NJB Pageant. Jeremy danced, talked, and sashayed his way to the top, raising money along the way for Keshet’s LGBTQ Teen Shabbaton Program. Read more about Jeremy’s big win here.

 

AUGUST

Jewish Run Club: August 8

run club

This year, a group of Jewish exercise enthusiasts got together and started a running club! Once a month, they “gather” at GatherDC’s townhouse and go for a run around the city, followed by drinks.

 

SEPTEMBER

GatherDC’s Alternative Yom Kippur Experience: September 19

alt yk

For the 2nd year in a row, GatherDC hosted hundreds of young adults for an alternative Yom Kippur experience where we connected to themes of the day through small-group discussions, personal reflection, story-telling, journaling, and more.

 

OCTOBER

Wisdom & Wellness: Jewish Spiritual Tools for Mental Health: October 10

adas at the well

The Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington, Adas Israel Community Mikvah, and At The Well brought women of all ages together for an evening of learning and conversation with rabbi’s, mikvah attendants, wellness coaches, and therapists to explore using Jewish spiritual practices to live whole lives.

 

Federation’s Impact DC: October 18

impact

On October 18, 2018, more than 200 young leaders joined The Jewish Federation’s Young Leadership to party with a purpose and celebrate the impact of their philanthropy at home and around the globe.

 

Washington Hebrew Congregation District Shabbat: October 19

district shabbat

On Friday, October 19th, Washington Hebrew Congregation (WHC) debuted District Shabbat, a soulful, joyful, and musical Shabbat for all ages at the Southwest Waterfront.

 

NOVEMBER

ACCESS D.C. Policy & Brew Roundtable, November 8

access dc

Attendees at the event learned about AJC’s work on important global and domestic issues, sampled delicious beer, and networked with their fellow global Jewish advocates.

 

YP@AI Brunch and Learn with Rabbi Sarah Krinsky: November 11

brunch and learn

Bagels, mimosas, and Jewish learning? What could be better on a Sunday morning?!

 

DECEMBER

JWI’s Young Women’s Leadership Network Conference: December 2

jwi

JWI’s Young Women’s Leadership Conference brought together 250 women from across the country for a day of learning from each other, networking, and inspiring women’s leadership.

 

Hanukkah Happy Hour on the Hill with EntryPoint: December 5

dcjcc hanukkah

Over 300 young adults joined EDCJCC’s EntryPoint for their annual Hanukkah Happy Hour where we lit the candles, enjoyed gelt, 90s music, doughnuts, and more!

 

Tikkun Leil Shabbat: December 10

tls

Tikkun Leil Shabbat celebrated the final night of Chanukah. On all eight nights, we gathered in community members’ homes across the District to light candles and eat latkes together.

Happy Hanukkah DC: From Our Stomachs To Yours

The Festival of Lights has finally arrived! What better way to celebrate this holiday than inhaling as many latkes, donuts, and gelt as possible? If you have yet to indulge in your share of these delightful treats, not to worry. We’re here to help. Look no further for the best Hanukkah deals in DC. And no, it’s definitely not too late to dig into some sufganiyot!

donuts

Sufganiyot from Sugar Shack

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

Astro Doughnuts is one of our FAVORITE places for delightful sugary treats, and this year they did not disappoint. They’re offering a special “Hanukkah Mini Box” featuring a dozen doughnuts inspired by the holiday, including Sufganiyot, creme brulee mini doughnuts topped with gelt, and Hanukkah cookie mini doughnuts. These delicious little rings of joy are available at all locations throughout Hanukkah (December 2-10).

B. Doughnut

Berry jam, cinnamon sugar, and a seasonal gingerbread flavor! They also have vegan berry glazed donut holes with granola. So yeah, there’s that.

Dino’s Grotto

Dino’s Grotto (similar but different to The Little Mermaid’s grotto) has an entire Hanukkah 2018 menu available a la carte or as a family style FEAST. Take your pick from latkes, specialty pasta, a choice of chicken or fish, and an olive oil citrus cake. Ooookay!

Chai-vy & Coheney

This is perhaps the most popular pop-up bar in Washington DC. Stop by this famous Shaw watering hole for shots out of a menorah, red and green dreidels, and lots and lots of Manischewitz. Not only is this pop-up bar super fun and innovative, but all proceeds from the ShotNorah (eight guests take shots in unison) are being donated to HIAS. How’s that for some warm and fuzzy holiday feels?

Commissary DC

Commissary’s menu is currently featuring vegetarian potato pancakes with sour cream and apple sauce! They also serve potato pancakes with eggs, smoked salmon, sour cream, and toast which sounds absolutely incredible. We have not tried this, but if anyone wants to go to brunch here with us this weekend, please comment below. 🙂

District Doughnut

They carry a special sufganiyot flavor (vanilla bean, sugar, and strawberry jam) for the season, along with a year-round Bailey’s & Coffee, Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee, and definitely not kosher Maple Bacon.

Fare Well

In addition to hosting celebs like Miley Cyrus, this vegan staple on H Street boasts egg-free potato latkes with homemade sour creme and apple sauce for the season.

Miracle on 7th St

This isn’t a traditional “restaurant,” we know, but obviously we had to include this yearly staple in our roundup of Hanukkah deals across DC. While the majority of this bar centers around Christmas, there is an amazing Hanukkah section filled with menorahs, a specialty drink called The Hebrew Hammer, and Chinese food boxes. Because a lot of Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas. Get it?

Sugar Shack Donuts

Voted one of the Top 10 Tastiest Donuts in America, Sugar Shack carries flavors like Candy Cane and carries a raspberry jam filled Sufganiyot flavor that I can tell you from personal experience is fully, moist, and finger-licking good.

Other places to indulge in your favorite festive delicacies:

Know of other places to try delicious latkes or donuts before Hanukkah comes to a close? Please comment below!

 

 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site

 

Giving Tuesday with GatherDC!

giving tuesday

Kick-off Giving Tuesday with GatherDC! Swing by our townhouse on your way to work to start the day inspired, well-fed, and fully caffeinated.

WHAT: Call Your Mother Deli bagels, Gregorys Coffee, schmoozing with other awesome 20s/30s, and a meaningful convo led by Rabbi Aaron Potek about how and why we give.
WHEN: Tuesday, November 27th from 8:30-10:30am (Aaron will start the convo at 9:15am)
WHERE: The GatherDC townhouse
WHO: Any 20s/30s across Jewish DC!

RSVP here.

Please consider making a donation to GatherDC to attend at www.gatherdc.org/donate. 100% of proceeds will support GatherDC’s important work across the community to make your Jewish life better.

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Shoutout to Call Your Mother Deli and Gregorys Coffee for your generous donation of bagels and coffee to make this event possible.

GatherDC welcomes the participation of interfaith ​individuals, and people of all abilities, backgrounds, gender identities and sexual orientations. GatherDC ​fosters inclusive communities​​​ and strive​s​ to accommodate all needs whenever possible. If you require special accommodations, please contact us​ in advance of the event​ at (202) 656-0743, and we will make every effort to meet your needs.

By attending, you understand that photographs and/or video may be taken at this event, and your picture may appear on the GatherDC website, publications, or other media.

Jewish DC Hanukkah Guide 2018

hanukkah

I.

Smell.

Latkes.

That can only mean one thing.

It’s Hanukkah time y’all. So get ready to get lit (that pun is still clever, right?).

For those who have been counting down the days until this glorious Festival of Lights, or those who maybe totally forgot Hanukkah was happening early this year and are now debating whether re-gifting last year’s Blue Apron subscription would be socially acceptable (that’s definitely not me, okay!)…this handy-dandy Hanukkah Guide is for you!

Check out our roundup of the best Hanukkah parties, latke recipes, and menorah lightings across Jewish DC! Oh, and if we missed an awesome event – submit it here. And however you celebrate, we wish you a miraculously wonderful Hanukkah season.

NOTE: This list will be regularly updated, so please check back for new events and celebrations.

Pre-Hanukkah Events

Hanukkah Events

Sunday, December 2nd

Monday, December 3rd

Tuesday, December 4th

Wednesday, December 5th

Thursday, December 6th

Friday, December 7th

Saturday, December 8th

Sunday, December 9th

Post-Hanukkah Holiday Events

Hanukkah Recipes & Blog Inspiration

 

The events listed above are not sponsored or hosted by GatherDC, unless otherwise specified. GatherDC does not assume any responsibility, liability, or financial obligation to to the events listed that are not explicitly hosted by GatherDC. 

Explore Our Work

GatherDC’s 2017-2018 Impact

The above link contains a PDF with the following documents:

  • The 2017 Greater Washington Jewish Community Survey + GatherDC’s Work
  • GatherDC’s Annual Highlights
  • Beyond the Tent Retreat Overview
  • Alternative Yom Kippur Experience Overview
  • Open Doors Fellowship Overview

To learn more about GatherDC and how you can support our work, please contact GatherDC’s Executive Director Rachel Gildiner at rachelg@gatherDC.org or visit gatherdc.org/donate.